Any time spent in prison is a long time, but we bring you an amazing list of some of the longest prison sentences in the world. You probably wonder what “longest prison sentence in the world” means exactly, when there is nothing longer than a lifetime sentence. It seemed nonsensical to me as well because life in prison means you will spend the rest of your life behind bars. However, there are practical reasons behind giving consecutive life sentences. Making a sentence consecutive rather than concurrent (served at the same time) minimizes the chances of parole.
Most life sentences have the option of parole after the convicts serve 20 years in prison. The consecutive sentence means that he/she has to do one at the time and even if one gets the parole he cannot be freed because he/she has another lifetime sentence. This way, it is ensured that the prisoner cannot be released in their lifetime because the second sentence comes in. Consecutive lifetime sentences are usually imposed if a person has committed more than one criminal deed, this way, justice is served separately for each one of the victims (murderers and child rapists are usually the ones convicted to a lifetime in prison). Also, in the case that one of the crimes gets overturned on appeal (due to new evidence, witnesses or another person taking the blame) sentences for other crimes will still keep the person behind bars. After hearing about these life-long sentences, you are probably wondering how old is the oldest person in jail? Under the section of “weird news,” Huffington Post published an article about a 108-year old man, Brij Bihari Pandey, who is being released from prison. Currently, he is holding the title of the oldest person in jail. The oldest American inmate is a 100-year-old and the oldest person ever jailed in Britain (and possibly the oldest person ever jailed in the world) is 101-year old pedophile, Ralph Clark.
Once you take a look at the list, you will realize that even the thousands of years that these criminals got might be too little for what they have done. Many wonder what was happening in the minds of these psychopaths, and how is it possible that a human being can commit such hideous crimes. You can get some of the answers by watching documentaries on this topic and there are a lot of documentaries about serial killers (and even interviews with some of them). Also if you want to see what life in prison looks like, take a look at our list of 7 Best Prison Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Youtube. While prison is a place where the offenders are punished for their crimes, it should also be a correctional facility and these documentaries show the reality behind bars. However, no judicial system is without flaws and sometimes innocent people end up serving long sentences. The longest prison sentence served by an innocent man was the one served by Louis Taylor who spent 42 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Unfortunately, this is not the only case of an innocent man serving a sentence for a crime he did not commit, and you can take a look a look at our list of 10 longest prison sentences served by an innocent man to find out more about innocent people spending a good portion of their lives in prison. Speaking of the longest prison sentence served, we have to mention Paul Geidel Jr. who served 68 years and 245 days in various New York state prisons until he was released at the age of 86.
In order to create this list of 11 longest prison sentences in the world, I checked Insider Monkey’s article on the 6 longest prison sentences ever given. I also read Independent’s article on this topic and an article published by Express. Reading various articles on longest prison sentences in the world showed that the same names kept popping up, and I compiled the list of longest prison sentences. Sentences are ranked from the “shortest” one to the longest one. Those with most consecutive life sentences are at the top. I made an exception by placing Bobby Joe Long in the first place because he got (in addition to 28 life sentences and 99 years) two death penalties as well. We can safely say that he definitely deserves the number one spot.
Let’s get right to our list of 11 longest prison sentences in the world.
11. Charles Scott Robinson
Length of sentence: 30,000 years
Charles Scott Robinson is a multiple offender. Prior to his 30,000 years sentence, he had convictions for non-violent crimes of attempted burglary, burglary, concealing stolen property and possession of a stolen vehicle. He was also convicted of sexually assaulting a 3-year old girl. On December 23, 1994, he was found guilty of rape by instrumentation, two counts of forcible oral sodomy and three counts of indecent acts with a child under 16. He got 5,000 years on each count and Judge Dan Owens chose to order the sentence consecutively instead of concurrently telling Robinson: “By doing that, I think I can assure that you will spend the rest of your natural life in the confines of the Department of Corrections.”
10. Otman el-Gnaoui
Length of sentence: 42,924 years
Otman el-Gnaoui is a 31-year old Moroccan found guilty of transporting explosives to a house in the Madrid suburbs, where the bombs were prepared, as well as carrying out the bombings. In 2004 in the Madrid train bombings, dubbed Spain’s 9/11, 191 people died and 1,856 were injured. Along with Jamal Zougam, Gnaoui was responsible for placing the bombs and they got 30 years for each of the 192 people killed and 20 years for each of the 1,856 people injured. Let’s see what’s next on our list of longest prison sentences in the world.
9. Chamoy Thipyaso
Length of sentence: 141,078 years
In 1989, Chamoy Thipyaso was given a jail term of 141,078 years. Thipyaso was involved in a pyramid scheme that defrauded around 16,231 people. Some of the people who lost money were allegedly members of the Royal Household which might explain the sentence. Thipyaso was thus handed down the longest sentence for corporate fraud, according to Guinness World Records 2006.
8. Gabriel March Grandos
Length of sentence: 384,912 years
When speaking about sentences expressed in thousands of years rather than life sentences, Gabriel March Grandos is definitely a winner on our list of longest prison sentences in the world. How many people did he kill to get 384,912 years in prison? Well, none to be exact. He was a 22-year old mailman in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, who obviously wasn’t very keen on doing his job properly. He was accused of failing to deliver more than 42,000 letters and he opened more than half of them, recovering the checks worth around $50,000. However, 384,912 was just a request, and the final penalty was 14 years and 2 months as well as fine of 9,000 pesetas.
7. Dudley Wayne Kyzer
Length of sentence: 2 life sentences + 10,000 years
Dudley Wayne Kyzer, dubbed the “Halloween murderer” is a triple murderer from Alabama. He was convicted of killing his estranged wife Diane Kyzer, her mother Eunice Barringer and a college student, Rick Pyron, who happened to be at the Barringer home on Halloween in 1976. 53 years ago Kyzer was also involved in a death of a friend during a baseball game in Tuscaloosa. In 1981, he was convicted for the triple murder and the original sentence was the death penalty. However, it was overturned and he got 2 life sentences and 10,000 years in prison. He has been denied parole 10 times.
6. James Eagan Holmes
Length of sentence: 12 life sentences + 3,318 years
James Eagan Holmes was found guilty of killing 12 and injuring 70 people in a shooting in a Colorado theater on July 20, 2012. He bought a ticket for the screening of “The Dark Night Rises” and took the front row seat. Soon after, he tossed a tear gas grenade and opened fire. He received one life term for each person he killed and additional 3,318 years for attempted murders of all the people he wounded. He rigged his apartment with explosives as well, which he was also convicted for. James Eagan Holmes will definitely not be setting foot outside of prison since he is not eligible for parole. While this sentence sounds like a lengthy one, remember that we are only half way through our list of 11 longest prison sentences in the world.
5. Juan Corona
Length of sentence: 25 life sentences
Juan Vellejo Corona dubbed “The Machete Murderer” is a serial killer convicted for murders of 25 California farm workers. Corona is a farm labor contractor who chose victims (farm workers) who had few relatives and would likely not be missed, and some of the bodies were never claimed by the families. The gruesome manner of killing and mutilation of his victims resulted in 25 life sentences. He hacked his victims to death and buried them on two ranches near Yuba City. He shot his last (25th) victim in the head. While motives for these murders remain a mystery, evidence was more than enough to convict him, since police found a green ledger book with the names of the victims, an 18-inch machete, a wooden club, and a gun. He was sentenced to 25 life sentences. His parole was denied eight times.
4. Andrew Aston
Length of sentence: 26 life sentences
Andrew Aston is a drug addict who preyed on pensioners. During his trial for murder, it was discovered that he robbed another 20 pensioners and assaulted another four people during violent robberies. Detectives said that his attacks became more and more brutal each time. He posed as a police officer to gain entrance to homes of elderly people, then carried out brutal and violent robberies. Among his victims was George Dale, an 87-year old grandfather who fought in The Royal Artillery in World War II. Aston savagely beat him with an iron rod and two weeks later, George Dale died from sustained injuries. His second victim Frank Hobley, also a war veteran, died three months after the attack. Aston was convicted of 2 murders and 24 robberies and assaults and got one of the longest prison sentences in the world.
3. Billy Joe Godfrey
Length of sentence: 35 life sentences
One of the longest prison sentences in the world is the Billy Joe Godfrey’s, who was found guilty of 35 counts of sodomy. He pleaded guilty of raping two children between 1995 and 1999. Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney Brendon Fox said that it was the worst case of child sexual abuse he has ever seen. The judge agreed and vowed that Godfrey will never take another breath or free year.
2. Martin Bryant
Length of sentence: 35 life sentences +1,035 years
In 1996, Martin Bryant killed 35 people in what was known as the Port Arthur Massacre. Bryant first murdered the owners of the Seascape Guesthouse, David and Sally Martin, then he continued his killing spree with a semi-automatic rifle. He went to Port Arthur historic site and opened fire on tourists and locals. He took the lives of 35 people, including children, and wounded another 23. After the massacre he took a hostage and drove back to Seascape Guesthouse and stayed inside for 18 hours before he set it on fire. He pleaded guilty to 72 charges including murder, attempted murder, causing grievous body harm, and arson. After the incident, Australia embraced new, stricter gun laws in order to prevent anything like this of happening again.
1. Bobby Joe Long
Length of sentence: 34 life sentences, 693 years and two death penalties
1984 was the year that left citizens of Tampa trembling with fear because it was the year when Bobby Joe Long went on his eight-month killing spree. His spree started in Tampa when he killed a prostitute named Artis Wick. He raped and brutally killed 9 other women and confessed to raping more than 50 women. In early November, 1984, he dragged 17-year old Lisa McVey to his car and held her as a sex slave for more than 24 hours. However Lisa managed to talk him into releasing her which he eventually did. She was the only Long’s victim who survived his torture. She remembered details about him and the place where he held her captive which eventually helped the police to convict him. In addition to 28 life sentences, 99 years in prison, Long was sentenced to the death penalty. 30 years later he is still waiting on death row, and the only survivor, Lisa McVey, is looking forward to appear at his execution. I believe you will likely agree with me that all of the people from this list of the longest prison sentences in the world got what they deserved. The world is definitely a safer place with them behind bars.